Why Ireland Was Never Entirely Subdued


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[000673] [Davies, Sir John]. A Discoverie of the True Causes Why Ireland Was Never Entirely Subdued, Nor Brought Under Obedience of the Crowne of England, Untill the Beginning of His Majesties Happie Raigne. London: [W. Jaggard] for John Jaggard, 1612. First Edition. 8vo. Full Calf. Good+. [4], 1-186, 189-287pp, [1],

Later full calf, raised bands, spine in six panels, title label to second panel, remaining panels with central lozenge shaped tool in gilt, covers with double fillet gilt border.

Recently rebacked to style. Minor rubbing to extremities. Text block slightly cropped at head. Internally some minor browning and staining, but generally fairly bright.

Lacks A1, which is blank apart from the signature letter ‘A’ to foot, small flaw to title catching fore-edge, with an ink number ‘3’ to title, the head of G1 has ’35 comes after 50′ in ink (a legacy of signature G being bound before F – now rectified), the final page is blank (sometimes found with errata).

Sir John Davies, “firmly believed that the successful government of Ireland could not be achieved through military conquest alone, but depended instead on laying the legal foundations for a civil society … From 1606 he was busy with the management of the work deriving from the establishment of the commissions for defective titles and the implementation of arrangements for the surrender and regrant of lands by tenants of the crown. This was a crucial element in his long-standing campaign to entrench the full-scale operation of property law in Ireland as the bulwark of English rule, and was designed specifically to undermine and finally to abolish Gaelic para-legal forms of land tenure and inheritance which were much more fluid, based on kinship and the sept, and the tribal allegiances underpinning them … Davies was long absorbed in the establishment of the new plantation … In all he obtained 5500 acres … In 1612 he published his ‘Discoverie of the True Causes Why Ireland was Never Entirely Subdued nor brought under obedience of the crown of England until his Majesties Happie Reigne’, which argued for the full establishment of a system of law based on land rather than blood” (ODNB) It was this use of the law which apparently brought Ireland “back within the fold of civilization” (Oxford History of the Irish Book, Volume III, page 254). Sweeney notes that it is a “superb analysis in which Davies points out the various problems which had delayed the conquest”.

Sweeney, Ireland and the Printed Word‘ 1320